Mandi: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi in collaboration with PGMIER Chandigarh have developed a cost-effective device to detect and diagnose stroke caused by impaired blood flow to the brain.

Ischemic stroke caused by insufficient or interrupted blood supply to part of the brain affects one of every 500 Indians every year. Surveys have shown that around 10% to 15% of all strokes affect people below 40 years of age. 

The efficient management and treatment of stroke depend upon early identification and diagnosis. Currently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) techniques are considered the gold standard for ischemic stroke detection. While these are indeed reliable methods, they require considerable infrastructure and high cost, and are inaccessible to many communities in India – there is only one MRI service for every 1 million people in the country.

While explaining the research, Dr Shubhajit Roy Chowdhury, Associate Professor, IIT Mandi, said

“We are working towards finding a low-cost diagnostic technique to precisely detect ischemic stroke at the point of care so that such tests can be used in rural, poor and remote areas. Our team has designed and developed a small wearable device that uses Near Infrared Spectroscopy to detect ischemic stroke. In this device, a near-infrared light emitting diode (NIRS LED) emits light in the range of 650 nm to 950 nm. This light interacts with the coloured components of the blood like hemoglobin and provides information on blood characteristics such as regional oxygen saturation, regional oxygen consumption, and regional blood volume index.”

The IIT Mandi team performed studies measuring the bio-markers under ischemic conditions at the forearm and at the frontal lobe of the brain. The researchers also validated their detector prototype through experimental occlusion of the forearm and evoked ischemic stroke at the frontal lobe, and found excellent diagnostic potential.

Speaking about the research, Dalchand Ahirwar, research scholar, IIT Mandi, said, “A combined matrix of this information reflects the temporal dynamics of blood haemoglobin, which can help in identifying impaired or abnormal blood flow conditions at a local tissue. The biomarkers that we have used to study ischemic conditions are oxygen saturation, regional oxygen consumption and regional blood volume index that could better predict ischemic conditions than other techniques.”

As a result of the burden of stroke among Indians, the GoI’s National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases & Stroke (NPCDCS) is focusing on early diagnosis and management at different levels of health care for all non-communicable diseases including stroke, in India.  The development reported by the IIT Mandi team will help in enhancing access to stroke diagnosis throughout the country.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.